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Tag Archives: Microsoft

The 411 on the Xbox One: Specs, Features, and Images of Microsoft’s New Console

Xbox One

Microsoft has finally unveiled the Xbox One, which comes nearly eight years after its predecessor was released. It took a long time, but the question is, was it worth the wait?

The Xbox One is touted as an “all-in-one” entertainment system for your living room. Aside from being a video game console, it’s also a television and entertainment platform, with emphasis on providing a rich television experience.

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Microsoft Instaload Lets You Install Batteries In Any Direction

By Chris Scott Barr

How many times have you gotten a new gadget and had to squint to decipher the little diagram that tells you which way to insert the batteries? Sure, sometimes it’s pretty obvious which end is negative thanks to a little spring coil, but not everything has one. While this is only the most minor of inconveniences, it could actually be a thing of the past next to Microsoft.

Microsoft isn’t the first company that comes to mind when I think about AA batteries. However, they have developed a new technology called InstaLoad that will allow you to insert these (and CR123, AAA, C and D) batteries in either direction.  You might not find this to be terribly important for yourself, but those with poor vision and fine motor skills will no doubt find this invaluable. Microsoft is currently working with a number of companies, including Durcell, to get this technology into various consumer electronic products.

[ Microsoft ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

MS Arc Keyboard Reviewed. Verdict: Aesthetically Pleasing as it is Versatile

By Ian Chiu

MS Arc Keyboard seems to have something for everyone. Whether you need a miniature wireless input device for your HTPC or an easy-to-carry laptop keyboard replacement, the Arc looks like it can serve these roles just well enough to get by. The keyboard itself has a familiar layout for touch typists, and has acceptably low latency to satisfy casual gamers. Though, the D-pad is a pain to deal with during text selections. There’s also no built-in mouse controls which may not be particularly important in a home theater PC environment.

The lightweight keyboard measures just 12″ x 6″, making it extremely portable especially with the bundled nylon pouch. A tiny USB receiver can be quickly stowed into an open compartment on the underside of the keyboard. It’s a shame however that the Arc-shaped keyboard and the mouse couldn’t share the same nano USB dongle, unlike Logitech’s Unifying receiver. As the Arc is primarily made to save precious desktop space and to minimize carry weight for road warriors, the miniature keyboard with a slight curvature lacks a lot of advanced features found on similarly priced alternatives yet it should fit nicely in various environment.

[Full Review @ Everything USB]

Microsoft To Sell Official 8GB Xbox Flash Drives For $40


By Chris Scott Barr

In case you hadn’t heard the big news, starting April 6th Xbox 360 owners will have a new way to add storage to their favorite console. They will be able to insert any USB drive, (be it a flash drive or hard drive) format it, and use it to store games and save files. The only downside is that they are limiting the usable space to 16GB. You can have larger drives, you just won’t be able to use more than 16GB on your 360.

Naturally, with the release of this new feature, Microsoft has decided to start selling their own branded flash drives. Of course from a company that sells 512MB memory cards for $30 and 250GB hard drives for $130, do you really expect them to be reasonably priced? Of course not.

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Windows Phone 7 Series To Lack Copy And Paste

Windows Mobile 7

By Chris Scott Barr

If Apple learned nothing else after releasing the first two versions of their iPhone software, it was that users wanted copy and paste functionality. It seems like everyone and their brother myself (and my brother) voiced their frustration at Apple’s apparent disregard for a feature that everyone clearly wanted. Thankfully, such a stink was raised that Apple, along with every other mobile OS provider, now knows better than to leave it out from future software.

Unfortunately, Microsoft didn’t get that memo. It has been confirmed that Windows Phone 7 Series will not allow users to copy and paste. It is their firm belief that most users don’t really need clipboard functionality. You’re right, I don’t need clipboard functionality; then again I don’t need a smartphone. I do, however, want a phone that has a touchscreen, can run variety of software, play music, and let me copy and paste.

VIA [ Engadget ]

Microsoft Discontinues Xbox Live Service For Original Xbox Titles


By Chris Scott Barr

If you’re still rocking an original Xbox, you might want to take note. Starting April 15th, Microsoft will be discontinuing support for all original Xbox games. Yes, that also means that your old copies of Halo 2 won’t work on Live, even if played in your shiny new 360. You’ll need to have a good old-fashioned LAN party if you want to play those titles with a significant amount of players.

So why the lack of love for Microsoft’s original console? It seems that the company is working on some updates that wouldn’t be possible to implement with the current limitations of these titles. They’re fairly mum on what these new features will be, though it likely has something to do with the Project Natal which is supposed to drop later this year.

[ Microsoft ] VIA [ CrunchGear ]

Japan To Get Ridiculously-Priced 250GB Xbox 360 Hard Drive


By Chris Scott Barr

When Microsoft entered the console gaming market, it was a great day for gamers here in the US. Now I don’t have anything against Nintendo or Sony, I love their consoles. What I don’t love is all of the exclusive hardware that Japan gets from these companies, since they are located in the region. Well since Microsoft is located here in the US of A, the tables are turned. Take this new 250GB hard drive that has been announced for the 360. Guess where it’s being launched first. Wait, Japan?

What’s even more strange is that despite a confirmed March 11 launch in Japan, there is no plan for a US release. Does Microsoft not think that we download enough? Or maybe they know that we’re in a recession, and aren’t going to pay $170 for a 250GB hard drive. I’ve ranted about this before and it still infuriating, you can buy a 2.5-inch hard drive (which is what’s used for the 360) for 1/3 of the price they are selling it. That’s one heck of a markup. They should take a cue from Sony and let us use our own drives to upgrade.

[ Microsoft ] VIA [ PCWorld ]

PC’s Purchased From Microsoft Stores To be Bloatware-Free


By Chris Scott Barr

Whenever you purchase a new PC, one tends to notice all of the extra software that comes with it. If you ask the manufacturer, they’ll tell you that they’ve done you a favor by providing lots of “useful” trial applications for you. Of course any tech-savvy person with half a brain immediately goes through and systematically removes every bit of it. Well if you want a computer without all of these “extras”, apparently you’ll be able to get one at the Microsoft Store.

That’s right, Microsoft’s new retail stores are going to carry computers without any additional 3rd-party software. That’s of course nothing to say for first-party software, as they will be installing all of the optional Microsoft software that you would otherwise have to download. This includes Windows Live Essentials, Bing 3D Maps, Security Essentials and the Zune client. Sure, it’s not a completely crapware-free computer, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

[ Method of Failed ] VIA [ Electronista ]

Microsoft To Release Free, Ad-Supported ‘Office Starter 2010’

Office 2010

By Chris Scott Barr

I used to work in retail for several years selling computers and such. One of the things that always seemed to surprise customers was just how much Microsoft Office really cost. They would usually get frustrated with me, since I was in charge of Microsoft’s prices. Usually a lot of them qualified for a Student and Teacher edition, which saved them a good bit of cash. Of course once OpenOffice came out, I would generally recommend that they download it, and not pay a dime. About half of them would, and since I didn’t make commission, we would both be happy.

I’ve been using OpenOffice for a long while now, and have few complaints. There is really very little that makes me want to turn back to Microsoft’s offerings. I mean you can’t beat free, right? As it turns out, they’ve been thinking along the same lines and will be offering a free version of their suite dubbed ‘Office Starter 2010’.

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